A New Home For Old Photographs
Photograph by O. Baumgard, 12 Little Alie St
It fills me with dismay to see old family albums for sale. And boxes of loose family photographs, all mixed up together, are one of the saddest sights you could encounter in the market.
Countless times, I have leafed through these books of photographs, often painstakingly captioned, that were once cherished and are now discarded, and I find it hard to resist the urge to buy them all just so that I can keep them safe on behalf of their former owners. I stand and pay my respects to the tender images of the holidays and family celebrations of strangers, as if my close attention might revive the lonely spirits of these lost souls. Yet, as much as I would like to, it is beyond my capacity to become the guardian and collector of all the stray photographs in the world, and so I must pass them by in regret.
So you can imagine my delight when Stefan Dickers, Archivist at the Bishopsgate Institute, told me that he is offering a home to all the unwanted albums and family photographs, where they can be kept safely for perpetuity and take their rightful place in the grand narrative of history. It is to be called the London Family Photo Archive and the beauty of it is that you can also contribute digital copies of photographs if you wish to keep the prints.
“We are looking for family and personal photos of everyday life, no matter if you have lived in London since birth or are a recent arrival to the city,” Stefan explained to me, “We are also looking for photos that depict Londoners on day trips and holidays outside of the city.”
If you might wish to contribute albums or pictures and would like to know more please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Stefan Dickers’ grandparents Win & Doug enjoy a drink at Dirty Dicks’ in 1958
Lucy feeding the pigeons in Trafalgar Sq in 1981
Stephen with mum & dad, c.1955
Stephen with dad in the backyard at Canning Town, c. 1965
Joan & Bill Naylor celebrate in Bellevue Place in the sixties
Joginder Singh in 1968
Photograph by Oscar Baumgart, The Empire Studio, 118 Commercial Rd
A family Christmas in Elder St 1968 – Neville Turner sits next to his father at the dinner table
John & June getting married in Ealing in 1953
Bob Mazzer & his dad ‘Mott’ in 1950
Michelle at a party in Peckham in 1991
Family portrait at a studio in Vallance Rd, 1980. From left to right – Arful Nessa (mother), Haji Abdul Jalil (father), Hafsa Begum (sister), Rahana Begum (sister), Faruk Miah (cousin), Shiraz Miah (cousin) and Delwar Hussain.
Marie & the girls from McCloskeys on a beano in Strype St in 1955
Gwen Bullwinkle holds up her daughter Mavis in Hanbury St in 1933
Dolly & pals on a day trip to Brighton, c. 1950
Lesley & Linda Keeper (on left) playing with friends in Cranberry St, c. 1955
Mohammed, Deena & Elizabeth Omar on holiday at Land’s End in 1974
Susana on a day trip to Wimbledon in 2013 by Jorin Buschor
The Gentle Author’s mother Valerie in 1933
Photographs courtesy Bishopsgate Institute